One of the more peculiar items I find when checking my blog stats is that I still get hits for a blog item I wrote in 2008 — 2008 — about Microsoft’s 10-K report that year and how it implies how good the open source paradigm might be compared to its own software and its own business model.
Bear in mind that one of the purposes of a 10-K report — somewhat like the medical disclaimers you hear on drug commercials that, after listening to it, would make any normal person avoid the drug at all costs — is to outline any potential pitfall in buying stock in the company you’re considering so you can’t sue them if, well, the stock goes south; way south.
Why the blog item keeps getting hits is beyond me, but for those who keep reading it, thanks.
A brave man: My friend Steven Rosenberg, who writes a tech column for the Los Angeles Daily News, wades into uncharted territory in his column today, where he outlines dual-booting a Lenovo with Fedora and . . . wait for it . . . Windows 7. As always, Steven’s blogs are always informative and instructional, and the reasoning behind his using the Xfce spin of Fedora is something that hadn’t occurred to me before. Steven says in the blog that he “prefer(s) the Xfce tools over those in GNOME. I like the Thunar file manager, the way you can ‘minimize’ a window but keep it visible on the desktop, I like the look (and speed; these helper apps are super-quick) and functionality of the Xfce terminal and Mousepad text editor. The Xfce configuration apps all work great, and there are plenty of them.” Nice work, as always, Steven. Keep us posted on this dual-boot adventure.
Survey says: Ken Starks over at the Blog of HeliOS has a fairly interesting survey to be taken, if you have several minutes. Tell Ken how you use GNU/Linux or Linux and help him out.
Now, who wants more coffee?
One of us is a battle tested, recently retired career Army man who is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. The other is a former peace and social justice activist with portfolio who rose through the Green Party’s California ranks before taking up FOSS evangelism with a vengance.
One of us lives in Texas, where the stars at night are big and bright (clap four times here), while the other lives on the Central California coast, where — and it’s a law, I think — every sentence must end with the word ” . . . dude.”
One of us swears by KDE, the other prefers GNOME but really has an affinity for Xfce. One of us calls the operating system “Linux” out of laziness. The other makes a point of referring to it as “GNU/Linux” because the “GNU should get its due.”
Ken Starks and I have our differences. I would be willing to bet he doesn’t think Texas cheated in the Rose Bowl when they beat USC for the national championship a year ago (they did), nor do I think he would agree with me that the former Texas governor cheated in the 2000 election to win the presidency (he did ). Ken grew up a Cubs fan — anyone who knows me knows how much I detest the Cubs (’89 NLCS, anyone?) — but he now follows the Houston Astros, while I live and die, mostly die, with the San Francisco Giants.
Yet it’s safe to say that Ken and I are united in one thing: Promoting Linux (as he’d say) in the home desktop/laptop and small business environment; that, and making sure everyone knows they have FOSS options to their proprietary computing experience.
My introduction to Ken — I haven’t actually met him in person yet — came after what I thought was a slight in a Blog of Helios of one of my heroes, Abbie Hoffman. Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, Ken is the ever-outspoken helios. He and I started exchanging e-mails afterward, discussing — among other things — how to get GNU/Linux (thank you) in front of everyday people who would benefit from being out from under the thumb of Microsoft’s monopoly.
A result of these discussions is our partnership in HeliOS Solutions, where I do what he does in Texas on the West Coast, down to initiating a Komputers4Kids program in Felton. Another result is the project called Lindependence 2008, which we had discussed ad nauseum starting late last summer and had refined through the fliter of The Tux Project in the meantime.
So if you were to tell me a few years ago that I’d be teaming up with a Army vet on a project to save the digital realm for FOSS, I would have laughed myself into a new pair of underwear. If you were to tell Ken that he’d be teaming up with a tree-hugging, pony-tailed hippie, he’d probably have the same reaction.
Yet here we are, and that’s where we should be: United for the operating system, whatever we choose to call it, and united for the promotion of FOSS programs that work as well, and in some cases better, than proprietary software it should replace.
If our partnership is a testament to anything, it shows that promoting GNU/Linux and FOSS transcends background, upbringing and politics. In fact, it even transcends sports in general and, as much as I hate to admit it, baseball in particular.
(And, Ken, Texas did too cheat in the Rose Bowl . . . )
(Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
The name of the next Ubuntu animal in the menagerie: With its April/October release dates firmly etched in stone, Ubuntu has named its October 2008 release Intrepid Ibex. Interpid what? Ibex — it’s a is a type of wild mountain goat with large recurved horns that are transversely ridged in front (and, dang, those horns are long). Here are the details right from the horse’s, er Mark Shuttleworth’s mouth.
The next set of names that come from Linux Mint, once they reach “Z” (Zelda?) will start again with an “A” but will end with an “e”, according to Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre. I mentioned the naming convention in the Linux Mint chapter of “Eight Distros a Week” — it’s alphabetical women’s names ending in “a” — and wondered aloud when they got to “Z,” whether the names restarting with “A” would end in a “b.” Nope, Clem says, they’ll start with “A” but the last letter will be “e.” Nice touch. Thanks for clarifying that, Clem.
G’day, Firefox: While Firefox‘s gains against Internet Exploder generally focuses on the percentages garnered in Europe, the place where Firefox is really taking off is Oceania, where 31 percent of Australians and New Zealanders are using the browser. Those are the results from a French polling firm called XiTi, and the story can be found here. And here in North America? A hefty 21 percent, third behind the Aussies and Kiwis of Oceania and the 23 percent of Europe.
Rolling Funder: The blogger known as Helios — a man who has made it his life’s mission to promote GNU/Linux at every turn — has an interesting concept in a recent blog which, if it works (and my money is on it working), would make a truly sound foundation for building a truly grassroots promotional vehicle for FOSS. I’m very much on board with this one, Helios — count me in.
On the BSD side . . . Steven Rosenberg of Click is smack in the middle of a BSD odyssey which is as intriguing as it is informative and entertaining. Not only this, it has kindled my interest in attempting to get NetBSD running on one of these old Macs just one more time (although, sheesh, Steven — those 5 a.m. posting times on your blog must be murder . . . .).
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)